No matter your age, making healthy food choices is the smart thing to do. Your body changes throughout your life and so do your nutritional needs. Eating a healthy diet is the best way to make sure you get the nutrients you need as you age.
Use these tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to choose foods for better health at each stage of life.
Healthy Eating Tips for People Age 65+
Drink plenty of liquids
As you get older, you may experience a decrease in your sensation of thirst. Its important that you drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100 percent juice also help you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt.
Make eating a social event
Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with other people. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A senior center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. If you are not able to share a meal in-person, host a virtual meal with others. Use video conferencing software (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Skype, etc.) to enjoy healthy meals while connecting with others.
Plan healthy meals
Find trusted nutrition information from ChooseMyPlate.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Get advice on what to eat, how much to eat and which foods to choose – all based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Know how much to eat
Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. The Texercise Portion Guide Fact Sheet (PDF) shows the amount of food you need. When eating out, one dish might be enough for two meals, have part of your meal packed in to-go containers to enjoy for another meal.
Vary your vegetables
Include a variety of colored vegetables to brighten your plate. Most vegetables are a low-calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber.
Use herbs and spices
Foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook. Your sense of smell, sense of taste or both may have changed. Medicines also may change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices. This is a great time to try spices you haven’t before – you might find a new favorite!
Keep food safe
Don't take a chance with your health. A food-related illness can be life threatening – especially for an older person. Throw out food that might not be safe and avoid foods that are risky for older adults, such as unpasteurized dairy foods. Other foods can be harmful to you when they are raw or undercooked, such as eggs, sprouts, fish, shellfish, meat or poultry. The Texercise Food Safety Fact Sheet (PDF) provides information on food preparation and storage.
Read the Nutrition Facts label
Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to important nutrients to know as well as calories, fats, sodium and the rest of the Nutrition Facts label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients and nutrients you might need to limit or to increase.
Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements
Should you take vitamins or other pills or powders with herbs and minerals? Your doctor will know if you need them. More may not be better. Some can interfere with your medicines or affect your medical conditions.
Malnutrition in Older Adults
Nutritional health is an important part of healthy aging. However, according to Defeat Malnutrition, one in two older adults is at risk of becoming or already malnourished. Malnutrition in older adults is associated with decrease in quality of life, longer hospital stays and higher risk of death. Texercise developed an awareness campaign to educate people about the signs and symptoms of malnutrition in older adults and where there are available resources to help address it.
Provider Information and Resources
Professionals serving older adults can help address malnutrition by identifying older adults at risk of malnutrition and connecting them to available community-based resources.
- Malnutrition in Aging Information Brief (English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- What is Malnutrition fact sheet (English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
To order bulk copies of these resources, email Texercise.
Older Adults and Caregivers Information and Resources
Maintaining proper nutritional health is an important part of aging and living well. Knowing the risk factors for, and the signs and symptoms of, malnutrition can help you know if you are at risk of begin malnourished. Download the Texercise malnutrition resources below to learn more about the issue and resources to address it.
- Nutrition at Any Age fact sheet (English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Nutrition at Any Age postcard (English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
Texercise Nutrition Fact Sheets
- Daily food log English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Decoding the nutrition label English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Eating healthy when dining out English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Elements of nutrition English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Emotional Eating English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Food security English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Food safety English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Healthy cooking English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Healthy eating on a budget English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Healthy eating for the holiday season English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Importance of Hydration English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Making buffets healthy English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Mindfulness for healthy eating English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Nutrient Dense Food English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Portion guide English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Reducing sugar intake English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Sodium reduction English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)
- Understanding nutrition English (PDF) | Spanish (PDF)